Skip to content

WordPress Theme Frameworks 101: What and Why

Let’s talk about all this geeky WordPress stuff later.

First, there’s a breaking news. Scientists have invented digital clothes that can change colors when needed. Imagine buying 2 or 3 comfortable dresses and having them change colors when needed.

That would be great, right?

OK, there’s no such invention. I was just getting the idea into your mind.

Now, replace yourself with your WordPress blog/website and this digital cloth with a theme framework.

Got the idea?

What is a Theme Framework?

If you are interested in WordPress, you must have heard the words “Theme Framework” floating around the internet. Ever wondered what it is?

Well, a theme framework is just like the digital cloth I mentioned above. Here’s what WordPress Codex says about it:

A Theme framework is a Theme designed to be a flexible foundation for quicker WordPress development, usually serving as a robust Parent Theme for Child Themes.

So, the idea is to have a solid foundation for a good design.

This also highlights how a theme and theme framework are different. A theme is a complete package. It comes with a good design and you are ready to go after installation and a few careful changes. When you buy a theme, you are buying a painting. hand it on the wall and you are good to go.

A theme framework, on the other hand is like a blank canvas. You have to paint it yourself or get a good painter.

Why You Should Use A Theme Framework?

One most important reason:

Changing themes is a necessity.

You can stay with same old design for long! In a recent article, Smashing Magazine said that one year is quite a long time for a design these days.

Fine, one year may not suffice but it is fine to change design every two to three years. And that means lot of costs. Apart from visible costs, here are some other things that may affect your blog or website(and which a framework can save you from!):

  1. SEO: SEO is important for any website. This is how search engines find you. With a new design, your site information may change. For example, all H2 tags becoming H3 and other weird stuff. With a theme framework, you do not need to care about this as back end stays same, just design changes.
  2. Loading Times: A significant slow down of website can turn down even the most loyal visitors. If you redesign and then the site gets slow, it would be harmful. With a theme framework, only front end will change which won’t slow down anything. While look and feel will change, speed will remain almost same.
  3. Isolation: When editing themes, the biggest problem is getting an error. And since PHP is an interpreted language, a small error can take down whole blog. With theme framework, all the changes are isolated. You usually edit a single file or a child theme. In worst case, you ‘ll have to disable child theme but your content will still be there! By providing isolation, a framework can make your life easier.

Which Framework to Choose?

I’ll discuss this in next post on Monday. If you have any suggestions, do comment!

Image Credit: kaz k via flickr.

Published inMust ReadsPluginsThemesWordPress